A regional manufacturing executive, as well as two representatives from the Northwest Industrial Resource Center (NWIRC), will meet with Pennsylvania’s 18 Congressional members in Washington, D.C. on March 9th to discuss the importance of manufacturing and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program to our regional economy.

Ashleigh Walters, President of Onex, Inc. of Erie PA, along with Bob Zaruta, NWIRC President/CEO, and Susan Hileman, NWIRC Strategic Business Advisor will be part of a large delegation to promote the value of the MEP program to small and mid-sized manufacturers by citing the impact that NWIRC, the MEP affiliate that serves manufacturers across northwestern and north central Pennsylvania, has had upon their businesses and the local industrial economy.

As a program of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the nationwide network of MEP centers served over 25,000 small and mid-sized manufacturers last year. Those companies reported $9.3 billion in increased revenue, $1.4 billion in cost savings and $3.5 billion in regional investment and expansion as a result of their MEP engagements. In addition, a third-party verified that those companies added and maintained 86,602 full-time manufacturing jobs as direct impacts of the MEP services they received.

At the local level, NWIRC completed projects with over 80 companies last year, resulting in their realization of $34.6 million in additional revenue, $5 million in cost savings and $8.1million in investments in new technology, expansion and innovation. Companies that worked with NWIRC over the past year attributed the creation and retention of 412 manufacturing jobs to those engagements.

“Manufacturers in our 13-county footprint have written letters of support for the services MEP Centers provide for manufacturers. Our Center will be hand-delivering over 40 letters to our elected Senators and Congressmen, which are just a small sampling of companies who have benefitted from the services of NWIRC. These letters represent over 3000 employees in our region. The other MEP Centers will also be bringing numerous letters of support with them to Capitol Hill,” said Zaruta. “We are looking forward to taking an active role in our nation’s approach to creating manufacturing jobs and expanding our industrial economy.”